PANTHER GLADE by Helen Cavanagh


Age Range: 9 - 12
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 Bill isn't exactly happy about spending the summer with great-aunt Cait while his parents go on a business trip abroad; he hasn't seen her since he can remember, has little interest in her work as an archaeologist, and is apprehensive about the wildlife around her home near Florida's Everglades. The New Jersey boy (who's used to getting whatever he asks for--except his parents' attention) is also uneasy with the apparent absence of TV, the rows of Native American masks in Cait's living room, and the possibility of a panther prowling at night. Still, as he makes friends with young neighbor Annie (also involved with the local dig), hears the stories of Cait's part-Seminole friend Grant, and begins to value Cait's casually expressed feeling of oneness with the natural world, Bill's horizons broaden-- especially after a rather contrived episode at the end when, after being swept adrift in a dinghy, he experiences a revelatory nightlong spirit quest in the Everglades. The episodic story features an unlikely number of happenstances and leads rather too neatly to its conclusion; still, the dialogue and interaction between Cait and Bill, as well as between Bill and Annie, are consistently lively and believable. An entertaining novel that develops some worthwhile values in a nicely understated fashion. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 28th, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-75617-6
Page count: 148pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1993